Morecambe 3 Rushden & Diamonds 1

Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)

Vauxhall Conference

22.11.97 – Christie Park

Diamonds Team : Smith, Hodson, Cramman, O’Shea, Branston, Whyte, Butterworth, Bradshaw, Barnwell, Collins, Underwood, Subs: Capone, Ndekwe and Wooding.

Webmaster Diamonds Man of the Match :

Match Report :

In the first half Diamonds were given a footballing lesson by their hosts with Brian Healy dominating their mid-field. Morecambe’s centre defence gave nothing away, while up front their leading scorer John Norman and new signing Andy Milner posed plenty of problems for the Diamonds.

After only 11 minutes Healy chipped the ball over Diamonds defence and found Norman who had plenty of time to control the ball, and fired past goalkeeper Smith. This was again the fault of bad marking, which has been seen so often in the Diamonds defence this season.

Danny O’Shea started his first league game for the club, and Simeon Hodson was also called in to play his first game since August. The squad had been weakened because of Mison and Kelly being sidelined through starting 3 match suspensions each. Also Tim Wooding and John Hamsher failed last minute fitness test.

Diamonds continued to battle but had very little possession. Both Darren Bradshaw and Darren Collins came close with headers, but just before half time Mark Shirley scored for Morecambe. This may have been a suspected off-side, but it also showed up poor marking again.

At the start of the second half Julian Capone and Brendan Hackett came on as replacements for O’Shea and Underwood. It was Hackett who made such a change to the pattern of play, and he caused many problems down the left, but Diamonds did not have the luck that was needed. Guy Branston volleyed a cross from Hackett but unfortunately it went very high, and a Collins header went wide.

However Capone scored a goal that was something special. After collecting the ball from the half-way line he accelerated his way to about 30 yards from Morecambe’s goal, shot and scored a goal that will possibly be the goal of the season. Diamonds were then in with a chance for at least a draw as there was still 10 minutes to full-time. Unfortunately with only 5 minutes to go Chris Whyte diverted a cut back from Milner past Mark Smith into his own net. This clinched the match for Morecambe.

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Brian Talbot made no excuses. “Besides Wooding, Hamsher, Kelly and Mison we were without Adrian Foster our leading scorer, and that meant we had players missing for every department – centre of defence, out wide, in mid-field and up front,” said Talbot. “And to go to a place like Morecambe, who are one of the best teams in the league, and expect to get a result under such circumstances is asking a bit much. We certainly did not get it right in the first half, but I changed things around and afterwards thought we were a lot better. We had 12 shots to their 4.

“But while the injuries and suspensions didn’t help us I’m not using that as an excuse. I’ve maintained all along that our squad isn’t big enough and this proved my point. As everyone knows I’m always on the look-out for fresh faces. But it is no use bringing in someone if they aren’t any better than what I have already got. There’s no point in signing players for the sake of it. I’m prepared to wait until the right man becomes available.”

Kelly will be available to play against Kettering, but Wooding and Hamsher will have late fitness tests.

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